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Lack of participation by younger members hurt St. Nick's, Ferrando says

Declining participation by younger members led to the demise of St. Nick's Social Club, Frank Ferrando told WBTA.

"I think a lot of clubs today find it extremely difficult," Ferrando said. "Over time, losing a lot of our old-time members, the younger members didn't participate in the club as much as needed and you really need that membership participation in order to survive."

Ferrando, a city councilman, is a long-time board member of St. Nick's.

The 400-member club that has occupied its current location on South Swan Street since 1948, hosted the Lion's Club meeting last night as its final official function.

Ferrando also said local charities will lose out on a long-standing source of donations and assistance. (MP3)

tom hunt
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To expand on what Frank said; this phenomon can be seen in a lot of additonal segments of todays society. Just from my own observations, I don't see the participation of the younger generation in church, night clubs, and other social gatherings. I guess they would rather live an isolated existance communicating by text messaging via the cell phone. This would illustrated by two teenagers sitting silently next to each other, not talking face to face, but communicating with the cell phone.
Bea McManis
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Posted by tp hunt on August 25, 2009 - 9:57am I guess they would rather live an isolated existance communicating by text messaging via the cell phone. This would illustrated by two teenagers sitting silently next to each other, not talking face to face, but communicating with the cell phone. Sadly, this is a commentary on life as we know it today.
George Richardson
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The local Moose club here was going under until they started booking music on Friday and Saturday nights and sometimes weekend afternoons. Their membership increases every time a bunch of music fans show up and they sell lots of beer and set ups.
Charlie Mallow
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Bea, I'm not so sure it's a sad existence, most kids are smiling when they are texting.
Bea McManis
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Posted by Charlie Mallow on August 25, 2009 - 11:28am Bea, I'm not so sure it's a sad existence, most kids are smiling when they are texting. That may be so, Charlie, and I'm glad they are enjoying themselves. The clear and present danger is the isolation some (not all) elect as a life style. We are witnessing the first generation of adults who have a difficult time communicating without the aid of a hand held device. Most kids will eventually learn the communication and social skills they need. A few will continue to retreat into their cyber world, coming out only when necessary (a friend calls them cellar dwellers) with minimal interest in or interaction with those around them. Someday, when I am no longer under the disclosure documents I signed, I will be able to share examples of this. It isn't pretty. In the meantime, we have to depend on caring parents, like you, to guide thier children through this phase in their lives. The social capital that Howard spoke of is important and it isn't something that comes naturally. It is all part of the learning process.
Jeff Allen
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The social isoloation is prevalent in most aspects of modern life. When we go through the toll booth, we do so with our EZ-Pass(no contact with a toll collector). When we shop, we use the self-checkout(no contact with a cashier). When we get gas we put our credit card in the pump and never go inside(no contact with anyone). When we spend time outside at home it is on our back deck, often times with a 6 ft. fence lining our backyard, and not our front porch anymore (no contact with our neighbors). We have morphed into this non-contact society over time and the social clubs are an unfortunate victim.
Bea McManis
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Posted by Jeff Allen on August 25, 2009 - 4:04pm The social isoloation is prevalent in most aspects of modern life. When we go through the toll booth, we do so with our EZ-Pass(no contact with a toll collector). When we shop, we use the self-checkout(no contact with a cashier). When we get gas we put our credit card in the pump and never go inside(no contact with anyone). When we spend time outside at home it is on our back deck, often times with a 6 ft. fence lining our backyard, and not our front porch anymore (no contact with our neighbors). We have morphed into this non-contact society over time and the social clubs are an unfortunate victim. Well said. I commente, as we passed a beautiful home with a big porch, that I miss my front porch in the summer. "A porch?", he asked. "What would you do with a porch?". "Have coffee in the morning and wave to neighbors. Have a cool drink in the late afternoon with friends. Sit and watch the sunset in the early evening.", I replied. He shook his head and gave me one of those looks. We, as humans, are social creatures. When did that become the exception and not the rule?
Karen Miconi
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Hey Howard, wheres Beth Kinsley Been?? I hope all is well with her. Maybe she's on Vacation. I miss her calm take on things on the Batavian.
Jeff Allen
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When I was growing up, we ate dinner at the picnic table on the front porch most summer evenings. It may sound like a stretch, but I think the enclosing, or eliminating of the front porch, giving way to to back decks was a large contributer to our neighborhoods becoming places of isolation. I am gulity, since I purchased a house with an enclosed porch and back deck. Maybe it's time to consider some remodeling.
Jason Crater
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This would illustrated by two teenagers sitting silently next to each other, not talking face to face, but communicating with the cell phone. - As a young member of St. Nick's up until yesterday, I feel I should speak out about this comment. First - St. Nick's is a bar. Teenagers are not the targeted demographic. Second - Consider the possibility that young members may have more going on than texting on their phones. As a member for just over year, I unfortunately didn't get to be as active as I'd like to have been with St. Nick's. It's not texting that stopped me though. I am married with two children, and work an oposite shift as my wife. I am also going to grad school while my wife goes to college as well. I have a forty minute commute each way to Williamsville for my job. It would be terribly irresponsible for me to spend my nights at St. Nick's. It's a shame that the older generation in Batavia seems to be completely clueless about the lives of the next generation. Try to move beyond stereotypes when addressing a group of people.
Bea McManis
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Posted by Jason Crater on August 25, 2009 - 6:19pm Second - Consider the possibility that young members may have more going on than texting on their phones. As a member for just over year, I unfortunately didn't get to be as active as I'd like to have been with St. Nick's. It's not texting that stopped me though. I am married with two children, and work an oposite shift as my wife. I am also going to grad school while my wife goes to college as well. I have a forty minute commute each way to Williamsville for my job. It would be terribly irresponsible for me to spend my nights at St. Nick's. The closing of St. Nick's would be a perfect project for a college student. What are the social/economic reasons for any organization close after a long and rich history? Jason gives good reasons...a family, job, school, and lack of time. Yet, he was a member. Why would someone with a heavy responsibility load join the club? How many active members were there? What were their ages? How many are members of the original families that started the club? There is a host of questions that could be asked and answered.
Charlie Mallow
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Bea said.“We are witnessing the first generation of adults who have a difficult time communicating without the aid of a hand held device. Most kids will eventually learn the communication and social skills they need. “ Don’t discount the probability that the communication skill they will need as adults is an ability to text. Future social interaction will probably include people being judged professionally on the speed, accuracy and maybe some yet to be understood protocol with texting. Business is very quick to adapt. When I started working in a corporate environment 20 years ago, we held meetings face to face, dressed in white long sleeve shirts, ties and sport coats. People were judged on how they presented themselves face to face. Now most meetings are held at my desk using on online teleconference white board. Those people who are unable to provide a teleconference number usually don’t have participation at their meetings, people are judge on preparation and content now. Things are changing fast; don’t discount what will be the norm in the future. Our kids are the future and they will determine what will be the norms and we have no say. I can very easily see people holding meetings by just texting in the future. The water cooler as a meeting place is a thing of the past.
Robert Bennett
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It appears to me that unfortunately St. Nicks went the way of the dinosaurs. Until clubs like this start embracing the younger crowd, instead of just wondering why membership is low and not changing, they will continue to close their doors. Young people want to text and sit on the internet? Give them a free hotspot inside the club. These are really few and far between. Every bar that is busy at night has music playing, so bring bands and put in a good jukebox for when there is none. Maybe rethink the menu, as the times change so do people's food interests. It's unfortunate that St. Nick's closed it's doors but clubs and organizations everywhere are suffering large in part to their lack of appeal to a younger crowd.
Bea McManis
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Charlie, I worked in an environment where the term, "things can change on a dime" was a mantra. What was new and exciting in the morning was passe' by afternoon. I came from the east coast where shirts, and shoes were acceptable work wear to an office where skateboards; trampolines; bare feet; beachwear; ipods; pets roaming the halls; and pre school children playing in their own computer room was the norm. Did I mention the morning brunch (every morning) and the Friday afternoon beer blasts that started about 2pm? I found that one rather unique until I looked out the window and saw the beer delivery man walking into the bank next door with cases for their Friday beer blast too. I've already had and accepted the culture shock. But, for all the changes, some things remain constant. Yes, there is video conferencing. Yes, you can hold a meeting using teleconferencing. Yes, you can hold multi national meetings online. (...and I have done all three) Yes, you can work by using texting (which I haven't done). But, when the rubber meets the road, the good old meeting that ends in agreement and handshakes is still held in good stead. When you are negotiating that contract and need to see exactly where you stand with those on the other side, the ability to look eye to eye and watch body language is still important. The art of oral communication and social skills are still important. Dismissing them as a thing of the past is premature.
Bea McManis
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Howard, I reserved the book at the library today. I plan to take it with me when we leave for Labor Day holiday. That book and C.M.Baron's 'In the Midst'. I'm not saying that texting isn't a viable means of communication. I'm saying that it isn't the only method. While the kids are learning to communicate using a hand held device, it is also important for them to learn the social skills they still will need as they grow older. Yes, studies have been conducted...but I was thinking more of a local spin to one that documents the "whats and whys" that impact our area - much like Bill Kaufman's book. Most likely the results would be the same as Putnam's.
C D
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Seeing that I would be one of the "young people" that you old timers (ha!) are talking about, I figure my perspective has some merit. Up until two days ago, I had never heard of St. Nick's. I didn't know anything about it. If lack of participation by younger members is what hurt St. Nicks and led to its closing, why wasn't there any (noticeable) effort to get more members and bring attention to it? If you have a store in town that not many people know about, there isn't going to be many customers walking through the door. I can't speak for the entire 18 - 20 year old age range in the area, but I rarely watch TV and I rarely play video games. I might spend 5 hours a month, if that, watching TV and even less playing video games. Most of the time, I'm fixing something, learning how to fix something, or unknowingly breaking something and fixing it after I realize I broke it. Now that the semester has started, I'm working on homework if I'm not fixing something. If St. Nick's was in this much trouble, why wasn't there action taken to get more members? A post here on The Batavian, or elsewhere, encouraging younger members to join or just stop by would've easily generated more people stopping by.
Bea McManis
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Posted by Howard Owens on August 25, 2009 - 10:53pm It's no light reading, Bea. I started it six or seven months ago and only 260 pages in with another 100+ to go, or more. Last year, my holiday reading was Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer which was 972 pages. The book's focus is on the details of the folkways of four groups of settlers from the British Isles that settled and moved from distinct regions of Britain and Ireland to the American colonies. The argument is that the culture of each of the groups persisted, providing the basis for the modern United States. I'll admit it took longer than just the holiday weekend. But, I also read The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes that presents the theory of human mitochondrial genetics. It is a slim volume, but packed with great information.
Rich Martin
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Ok Folks, St Nicks for a lot of years was a place for southside "gentlemen" to hang out..drink and gamble and for the most part get away from thier wives. It was a very popular "boys club" Things started to change as the popularity grew. You could drink cheap, there was seldom woman there so the wives tolerated it. As the club grew it started to make money annd as a non profit organization moniey was given away as scholarships, donations and charity. Life was good! The down fall of the club came from mismanagement and placing trust in the wrong people. Previous managers/stewards used the club for personal gain and abused thier position. When the money problems began to surface, only then did people (the board) realize what was going on. By then it was too late and the hole was too deep to get out of. You can blame hard times and decreasing membership but the bottom line is a lot of people who saw what was going on did not want to be a part of it. The previous board of directors atempted to fix things but were out voted time after time to get rid of the problem people. The sad part of it all is that just a few people ruined an organization that benifitted the community and was able to help so many people over the years.
Bea McManis
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Didn't the same thing happen at the Moose Club?
Frank Giuliano
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How can Mr Ferrando say that St Nicks started in 1948 at that location when I remember when I lived in Batavia in the early 50's it was our hangout called "The Hide-a-Way owned by a man named Columbo. We went to see a group from Buffalo by the name of "The Georgie Dell Quartet". Great times and great memories.
Bea McManis
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Posted by Frank Giuliano on August 27, 2009 - 10:55pm How can Mr Ferrando say that St Nicks started in 1948 at that location when I remember when I lived in Batavia in the early 50's it was our hangout called "The Hide-a-Way owned by a man named Columbo. We went to see a group from Buffalo by the name of "The Georgie Dell Quartet". Great times and great memories. In all fairness to St. Nick's Club, Remember, this started as a sodality at St. Anthony's Church, way before 1948 I'm sure. When The Hide-A-Way closed, and the social club purchased the building, no doubt the men did a lot of work on it to accomodate their needs.
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